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Pietro Badoglio

Pietro Badoglio Information

Pietro Badoglio

Pietro Badoglio

41st Prime Minister of Italy:
: In office 25 July 1943 - 18 June 1944
Monarch: Victor Emmanuel III
Preceded by: Benito Mussolini
Succeeded by: Ivanoe Bonomi
Born: September 28, 1871(1871-09-28) Grazzano Badoglio, Kingdom of Italy
Died: November 1, 1956(1956-11-01) (aged 85) Grazzano Badoglio, Italy
Nationality: Italian
Political party: None (Provisional Military Government)

Pietro Badoglio, 1st Duke of Addis Abeba, 1st Marquess of Sabotino (28 September 1871 - 1 November 1956) was an Italian soldier and politician. He was a member of the National Fascist Party and commanded his nation's troops under Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War; his efforts gained him the title Duke of Addis Abeba.

On 24 July 1943, as Italy had suffered several setbacks in World War II, Mussolini summoned the Fascist Grand Council, which voted no confidence in Mussolini. The following day Il Duce was removed from government by king Victor Emmanuel III and arrested. Badoglio was named Prime Minister of Italy and while mass confusion in Italy reigned, he eventually signed an armistice with the Allies. When this was made public, it threw Italy into chaos. A civil war took place, and the fascists fought the partisans. The king and Badoglio fled Rome leaving the Italian Army with no orders to follow.

Eventually from Brindisi on 13 October, Badoglio and the Kingdom of Italy declared war against Nazi Germany. Badoglio did not stay as Prime Minister for long however, as world opinion at that stage desired a person with a non-Fascist past to head the government. In June 1944, Badoglio was replaced by Ivanoe Bonomi of the Labour Democratic Party.


He was born in Grazzano Monferrato (later Grazzano Badoglio) in the province of Asti (Piedmont).

After studying at the military academy in Turin, he served with the Italian Army from 1892, at first as a Lieutenant (Tenente) in artillery, taking part in the campaigns in Eritrea (1896) and Libya (1912), where he distinguished himself at the Battle of Zanzur.

World War I

At the beginning of Italian participation in World War I, he was a Lieutenant Colonel (Tenente Colonnello); he rose to the rank of General following his handling of the capture of Monte Sabotino in May 1916 and by the late months of 1917 (mostly thanks to his Masonic contacts, including his superior, General Capello) was named as Vice Chief-of-Staff (Sottocapo di Stato Maggiore) despite being one of the main leaders responsible for the disaster during the Battle of Caporetto on 24 October 1917.

In the years after World War I, in which he held several high ranks in the Italian Army, Badoglio exerted a constant effort in modifying official documents in order to hide his role in the defeat.

Interwar period

Post-war, Badoglio was named as a Senator, but also remained in the army with special assignments to Romania and the U.S. in 1920 and 1921. At first, he opposed Benito Mussolini and after 1922 was side-lined as ambassador to Brazil. A change of political heart soon returned him to Italy and a senior role in the army as Chief of Staff from 4 May 1924. On June 25, 1926, Badoglio was promoted to the rank of Marshal of Italy (Maresciallo d'Italia).

Badoglio was the first unique governor of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (Italian Libya) from 1929 to 1933. During his goveronship, he played a vital part (with Rodolfo Graziani, deputy governor of Cyrenaica) in defeating the Libyan rebels. On 24 January 1932, Badoglio proclaimed the end of Libyan resistance for the first time since the Italian invasion in 1911.

Ethiopian invasion

Badoglio was not in East Africa when Emilio de Bono began the invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935. De Bono was the Commander-in-Chief of all Italian military forces invading Ethiopia and he was in direct command of the invasion army on the northern front. Ultimately, the progress of De Bono's invasion was judged to be too slow by Mussolini. As a result, Badoglio, who in the meantime had launched an epistolary campaign against De Bono, replaced the latter in December. After the December 26 torture and murder of downed Italian pilot Tito Minniti Badoglio asked for and was given permission to use chemical warfare.

Badoglio was immediately faced with the Ethiopian "Christmas Offensive" and he sought and received approval for the use of mustard gas. He employed it to effectively destroy the Ethiopian armies confronting him on the northern front. Badoglio commanded the Italian invasion army at the First Battle of Tembien, the Battle of Amba Aradam, the Second Battle of Tembien, and the Battle of Shire. On 31 March, Badoglio defeated Emperor Haile Selassie commanding the last Ethiopian army on the northern front at the Battle of Maychew. On 26 April, with no Ethiopian resistance left between his forces and Addis Ababa, Badoglio launched his "March of the Iron Will" to take the Ethiopian capital city and end the war. By 2 May, Haile Selassie had fled the country.

On 5 May 1936, Marshal Badoglio led the victorious Italian troops into Addis Ababa. Mussolini declared King Victor Emmanuel to be the Emperor of Ethiopia, and Ethiopia became part of the Italian Empire. On this occasion, Badoglio was appointed the first Viceroy and Governor General of Ethiopia and ennobled with the victory title of Duke of Addis Abeba.

On 11 June 1936, Rodolfo Graziani replaced Badoglio as Viceroy and Governor General of Ethiopia. Badoglio returned to his duties as the Supreme Chief of the Italian General Staff. According to Time magazine, Badoglio even joined the Fascist Party in early June.

World War II

Badoglio was not in favour of the Italian-German Pact of Steel and was pessimistic about the chances of Italian success in any European war but he did not oppose the decision of Mussolini and the King to declare war on France and Great Britain. Following the Italian army's poor display in the invasion of Greece in December 1940, he resigned from the General Staff. Badoglio was replaced by Ugo Cavallero.

On 24 July 1943, following the Allied invasion of Sicily, there was a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council. On the following day, King Victor Emmanuel dismissed Mussolini as Prime Minister and appointed Badoglio to head the government in his place. Martial law was declared, Mussolini was arrested, and negotiations were covertly opened with the Allies. Publicly, the King and Badoglio claimed that Italy would remain with the Axis. Instead, they were plotting in the background.

On September 3, General Giuseppe Castellano signed the Italian armistice with the Allies in Cassibile on behalf of Badoglio. On September 8, the armistice document was published by the Allies in the Badoglio Proclamation. It was published before Badoglio could communicate news of the switch to the Italian armed forces. The units of the Royal Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force were generally surprised by the switch and unprepared for German actions to disarm them. In the early hours of September 9, Badoglio, King Victor Emmanuel, some military ministries, and the Chief of the General Staff escaped to Pescara and Brindisi seeking Allied protection.

On 23 September, the longer version of the armistice was signed in Malta. The Badoglio government officially declared war on Germany on October 13. Badoglio continued to head the government for another nine months. Following the German rescue of Mussolini, the liberation of Rome, and increasingly strong opposition, he was replaced on 9 June 1944 by Ivanoe Bonomi and other committed anti-Fascists. Badoglio was never tried for war crimes by the Allies primarily because he helped them during the invasion of Italy.

Royal Italian Army
Royal Italian Army (1940-1946)
Italian Co-Belligerent Army


Pietro Badoglio: Italy in the Second World War, memories and documents. (Transl.: Muriel Currey). Oxford University Press, 1948. Repr. 1976, Greenwood Press: ISBN 0837184851
Pietro Badoglio: The war in Abyssinia. (Foreword: Benito Mussolini). London, Methuen Publishers, 1937.

Further reading

Italian Defence Minister website official biography of Pietro Badoglio as Chief of the General Staff [1]

External references

"Guard Changed.". Time Magazine. June 22, 1936. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,756350,00.html. Retrieved February 4, 2010.

More aircraft.

Source: WikiPedia

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